Here's a pairing that raises the question: "Why hasn't this happened before?" The Bad Plus have been a revisionist cover band and today mostly make original piano trio music sui generis. Bill Frisell is the quintessential jazz collaborator: The guitarist, making the second of three appearances at this year's Newport Jazz Festival, is down for anything involving good musicians, and can be counted on to execute it well. Together, they paid tribute to one of their mutual heroes, the late drummer Paul Motian, in a set comprised mostly of his haunting compositions.
Originally published on Fri October 5, 2012 10:41 am
Credit Erik Jacobs for NPR
A classic male singer, Kurt Elling has an old-school vibe to everything from his mannered stage banter to his declamatory, full-chested delivery. But he isn't afraid to write brainy, twisty lyrics over an obscure jazz number, or take a pop song back to the drawing board. He can do a lot with his voice, you see, and the band featuring long-time collaborator Laurence Hobgood, a pianist, helps to set the stage.
The Mom and Dad's Record Collection series on All Things Considered continues with a memory of music and family from the Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and authorLeonard Pitts.
Pitts says his childhood mischief was set to the music of Nat King Cole, often courtesy of his mother's own voice. One afternoon, he remembers, she was singing "Don't Get Around Much Anymore" while he played out back.
Boston's esteemed Berklee College of Music, just up the road from Newport, has produced top jazz musicians for decades. Driven by the leadership of Panamanian pianist Danilo Pérez, the school has expanded its jazz vision internationally, developing an initiative to recruit from and bring on tour around the world. Berklee's current Global Jazz Ambassadors are joined here by professional musician Adam Cruz, whose shimmering 2011 debut album Milestone showed off his talent both in front of the band and behind the drum kit.
Jenny Scheinman And Bill Frisell Live From Newport
The violinist Jenny Scheinman and guitarist Bill Frisell have both developed reputations for flexibility — for being able to collaborate with any musicians from country rockers to straight-ahead swing barons. Appropriately, they've been working together in bands for quite a long time now, including in Frisell's John Lennon tribute earlier in the festival. This duo performance features the two alone together, working out stripped-down versions of Scheinman's fiddle tunes.
It may be billed as a gig for the alto saxophonist Miguel Zenón, who is making his third Newport appearance in four years, but he would refuse complete credit. He teamed up with the French pianist Laurent Coq to co-write an album's worth of music inspired on the high-modernist Julio Cortázar novel Hopscotch — Rayuela, in the original Spanish. It calls for a cello and a trombone — Dana Leong plays both — and a drummer who can play tablas, so an obvious choice was Dan Weiss. Together, the quartet's literary and musical imagination runs wild.
What if there were lost big-band masterpieces by the great composer/arranger Gil Evans which never made it to record? In fact, there are plenty of them, according to composer/arranger Ryan Truesdell. He's culled, researched, transcribed and completed a handful of the best for Evans' 100th birthday anniversary. It helps that he's the lead copyist for composer Maria Schneider; he's borrowed much of her orchestra to record and now perform this rich, intensely-hued material.